Pilgrim – II: Void Worship

by Jon Wild
April 5, 2014 –

pilgrim-ii_void_worship

After metal spent decades expanding its boundaries farther than may be wise, some individuals decided to adopt the inverse of this mentality. Instead of diluting the genre, go back to its roots – and construct songs within an existing framework, rather than trying to do both simultaneously. It is here that heavy-metal/doom “retrovival” band Pilgrim enters the spotlight.

Their latest release, II: Void Worship, features a version of heavy metal which retains the melodic qualities of that genre, along with the rawer rhythmic structures of proto-doom and doom metal. Likely deriving inspiration from bands such as Mercyful Fate, Pentagram, Candlemass, and Cathedral, songs consist of the prototypical verse-chorus structure characteristic of music partly derived from rock. The songs never reach the nihilistic emptiness of death-metal derived doom, but still are heavier than the standard retroactive 80s fare. Indeed, the band occasionally incorporates minor chord strumming which brings to the foreground the confluence of influences present upon more melodic black metal bands. It’s in moments such as these in which the return to the past falters a bit, and the reasoning for doing so isn’t made clear. With the vocals providing a prominent grounding for the melodies, when it is utilized songs drive forward with appropriate vigor.

Nothing on here is novel, or has yet been unheard, and one should expect this before diving inwards towards this release, or the modern branch of the movement it arises from. However, those who are in search of quality metal that upholds a sense of internal quality control will find some songs to appreciate on this release. As this band is still in its early stages, it will be worth waiting to see if they can preserve their link to their influences while making their individuality more distinct.

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21 comments

  • eman

    The main failure of this song is that it begins and ends in the same place, and the middle is identical to the beginning and end. About three-and-a-half minutes in, I was expecting the song to finally take a turn and bring me someplace interesting, but didn’t even get a guitar cadenza or anything. Thirty seconds later, it was over. The chord progression is more rudimentary than I hear most pop-punk bands play. Very boring, over all. Bands can craft great songs from the alternating-verse-chorus structure, but this is not one of them.

  • Even More Bitter Man

    This sucks like the exact way that every other “metle” band after AD 1999 sucks. They are good at something but that thing is not metal. This sounds like Bruce Springsteen and the “E” Street band trying to cover Catherine Wheel at a metal festival for six year olds.

    1. Richard Head

      This is a garbage comment, and you are a whiner.

      What is it that the band is good at?

      How can you say this with a straight face if you know what Springsteen’s music actually sounds like? You realize that his music is hook-driven, unlike this band’s trudging drone-on style, right? Did you get the name Catherine Wheel by Googling “hipster shoegaze bands”? I ask, because they have nothing in common with metal in Pilgrim’s style; they are closer to Springsteen’s style of music.

      Criticism of bad music is great: That is what we are here for. However, your criticisms turn out to be incoherent bitchfits which contain wildly inaccurate comparisons and unsupportable claims. You do us all a disservice.

      1. Even More Bitter Man

        He whines about whining. Criticism of bad music is great; this music is bad. Let the criticism begin!

        How does Bruce Springsteen and the HIV Street band suck? Let me count the fucking ways! The droning vocals, the repetition, the songs that never make a point, the incoherent vocals…. add to that a tendency to fuzzy spacey compositions that never go anywhere like Catherine Wheel… what is the result? You’re right in that it would be better than Pilgrim because those artists have more experience and talent. But you’re completely wrong that it would sound any different, because what you forget is that No. 1 goal for Pilgrim is to find an “in” to the black metal “scene” which means they have to be either drone, war/kult metal, symphonic, punkish, yada yada et cetera et cetera et cetera. You can’t get past the surface style to see that all three of these bands share a goal which is repetition.

        Are you defending Pilgrim? May I ask, for what reason? Or are you simply frustrated with me and chose this as your moment in which case I also ask, why? Either way your mother sucks dog balls dry for crack money behind a 7-11 in Reno and I don’t care.

        1. Richard Head

          Cool rant bro, but I have no idea why you felt the need to point out why Springsteen sucks. You did a good job of describing your own style of commenting though; “droning”, “repetition”, “never make a point”, “incoherent”, etc.

          To prove that I’m not just making fun of you for being a general moron, I’ll point out the actual flaws in your criticism. First, I ask where did you get the idea that Pilgrim’s goal was to find an “in” to the black metal “scene”? How does this music relate to black metal in your mind? It sounds like corny throwback heavy metal with shitty guitar playing. I detect little-to-no black metal in this song.

          The next part of your comment that doesn’t make sense is the last sentence of the 2nd paragraph. In the context of the rest of the paragraph, you seem to imply that repetition is an inherently negative feature of metal. Where does this idea come from? Who writes songs that don’t have repetitive sections? Arnold Schoenberg?

          Finally, I’m not defending Pilgrim. Jon Wild mentions Mercyful Fate, Cathedral, and Candlemass as likely inspirations for the band, so I checked them out, and was bored.

          You don’t warrant my frustration; you are just a wanna-be troll and I would rather tear your posts to pieces instead of allowing oblivious visitors to wander in here and read your inanity unchecked.

          1. Even More Bitter Man

            Dumb rant, bro. Pilgrim is getting hustled to the black metal audience because of its similarity to Mercyful Fate, which wikipedia and Decibel think is black metal. Oh, and repetition… when we notice, it’s bad. When we don’t, it’s good. Are you going to stop defending shit metal now and start the bashing, or do we need to have a group hug?

            1. Richard Head

              Oh, silly me, I don’t depend on wikipedia or Decibel to tell me what a genre is. I trust my ears and experience, which tell me that Pilgrim plays half-assed heavy metal. Do you think MF have any similarities to black metal aside from the face paint? I’d be interested to hear.

              Again, I don’t see where I’ve defended shit metal. Your reading comprehension does not warrant the level of attention that I’m giving your posts, frankly. Furthermore, you did not address any of the points that I illuminated in my last post. Defend yourself or die.

              1. Even More Bitter Man

                Most “blak metal” now is half-assed heavy metal with screechy vocals. Pilgrim is the Mercyful Fate/Venom twist on this formula.

                Like a rape victim, you are attending “take back the night” rallies instead of attacking your rapist. The rapist is shitmetal like Pilgrim.

    2. Nito

      Cut Your Flesh And Worship Satan by Antaeus does not suck.

      At least Ancient will release a new album this year. I eagerly await the sadistic review of both that album and the upcoming Mayhem.

      1. Even More Bitter Man

        Antaeus surely does not suck but let’s be honest, does anyone remember anything from the album except the first two tracks? The rest all runs together because it’s similar and sloppy composition. Have a bunch of riffs, MkM screams like a little girl, the drums go bang bang bang, and then the song ends. I haven’t listened to that album in ten years because other than the first two tracks, it offered nothing. When has “black metal” cum to mean generic riffs, generic song structures and good vocals? I’ll grant you that MkM is a hottie (all Europeons are switch hitters) but beyond that, what is your pink-frilled obsession with this album? Haha, just kidding bro. I think.

        1. Tralf

          This new bitterman sucks. The original bitterman at least had some creativity in his sardonic rants. This new guy is just… Uninspired.

        2. trystero

          Bleeding Blasphemy is one of the more memorable tracks, drop the bitterman thing mate you cant do it, you just sound whiny and annoying. I am sure there are some legitimate comments behind the act.

        3. woe

          Keep it up. The more people get butthurt, the better.

          You’re like a voice from deep inside the anus (pun intended).

            1. trystero

              Similar to how you have appropriated and are ruining the whole bitterman thing. It is too forced, you are not really bitter, its just an act. Just like mediocre metal, an imitation. Even more brutal death metal! Even more evil satanic black metal! You are obviously not an idiot, so why dont you say what you have to say in a reasonable way?

              In other news this song is terrible.

  • Redman

    This is such an average song. No ambition, no elaboration on what is a fairly basic platform, enervating production. Goes to show how being too insular and dogmatic can prevent one from recognizing mediocrity when it stares you in the face.